Thursday, April 25, 2013

Houston, we have a diagnosis.

getting clipped for her neck ultrasound

What a week…

On Tuesday, Tuft's called after Lucy's scan was completed to give me the preliminary results. On the scan, the base of her neck, her back, both hocks, and her right stifle appeared to have "mild uptake", which basically means there was some bone remodeling going on in those areas, which could signify injury. She said if I was willing to ride her, that would help them narrow it down a bit. I was overwhelmed with this news, to say the least. I expected an issue, but not THAT many issues! The vet I spoke to was not the head vet on Lucy's case and she said the head vet would be calling me later unless they got very busy.

Shortly after I got that news, I was leaving work when my mum called to tell me she was rushing Cassie, my Golden Retriever, to the vet. Cassie had been diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago and shocked everyone by surviving much longer than the two months she was given by the vet but my mum said it did not look good, and I should prepare myself for bad news. I went home and laid in bed with Cairo, bawling my eyes out.

The bad news came at about 6pm and my mum told me they had put Cassie down. She had suffered a seizure and the vet thought the cancer had probably spread to her brain, judging from her symptoms. I was very upset that Cassie had suffered at the end, since the plan had been to put her down at my family's home on a nice warm sunny day before things got too bad, so that we weren't rushing her somewhere in the midst of a crisis. Suffice to say that plan got pushed back many times because Cassie kept having good days and her bad days were pushed aside as glitches.

Anyway, I am glad she is no longer in pain but this was very hard news for me to hear. Rest in peace, sweet Cassie.

The head vet didn't call about Lucy that night but I wasn't in any shape to talk to her, anyway.

On Wednesday I was at work super early because I had to leave at 12 to go get my tack and the trailer and then head up to Massachusetts to get Lucy by 3:30. Maddy came with me for support and to help me get Lucy on the trailer.

check out my awesome back-up job...I did it without a spotter

We arrived at Tuft's at about 3pm and we had time to snuggle with Lucy, who was very happy to see us, and to brush her and tack up. I bulked up in my FITS breeches and my crash vest since I thought Lucy would be pretty hot after some time off and three days in a stall at Tuft's. Tuft's has a nice big round pen in the front of the large animal hospital and I rode her in there. She held it together fairly well; Tuft's resident school horse was running around like a maniac just across the driveway, someone was hammering something across the parking lot, and cars/trucks/trailers were coming and going. So in that respect, I was proud of her. She still was quite spicy and tried to buck me off when I asked her to go round. Trotting to the left in a small circle, she was quite lame up front but I was relieved she displayed some of her typical behaviours after looking so sound on Monday when we dropped her off.

After I finished riding, the vet students untacked her and hosed her off for me (is this what a full service boarding facility feels like?!) and we decided to do some ultrasounds of the areas the vets were most concerned about. Lucy was all excited so she got some happy juice and took a little nap while the vet clipped her in the areas they wanted to ultrasound. So now she has a nice skunk stripe down her back, a patch over her SI, and two big patches of missing hair on either side of her neck.

all finished up and ready to go home!

Oh well, we got our diagnosis: when scanning her back, the vet found a hypoechoic region of the supraspinatous ligament centered over T15, with some of the lesion extending to T14 and T16. This is consistent with supraspinatous desmitis (tear). Her SI was picture perfect and her neck had no major issues, either. The recommendation is two months off, but she can get turned out, and then we'll re-scan the injured area to see if it has healed. The vet thought she could go back to work after two months but cautioned me not to ride her until she's been ultrasounded again because putting her back in work too early could undo all of her healing.

The vet said there's a million different ways she could have hurt herself but she probably did it cavorting around in the indoor because she really gets going in there, bucking and carrying on. So that will be a no-no in the future.

If she heals properly, she won't have any restrictions with jumping or anything like that. We could theoretically be back out eventing in the fall and that, my friends, is great news. She doesn't need any joint injections, Adequan, or other drugs. Just time! The vet said we can practice trailer loading, go on walks in the woods in-hand, and I can pamper her to my hearts content…but no lunging, no riding, and she can't be outside yee-hawing around in her paddock.

We loaded her up on the trailer with some difficulty but NO drama. She didn't want to get on the trailer but she was not being an asshole about it, or getting worked up. She got on after about 40 minutes and we drove her home. She was so happy to get turned out this morning and she really missed the little Arab mare she's friends with, so that was cute.

Maddy and lucky am I to have a friend like Maddy?

Oh, one more cute thing: across the hall from Lucy was a little miniature donkey who had been admitted on Tuesday for an eye injury. The vet students told me they were friends and were talking back and forth to each other across the hall! How cute is that? Lucy would nicker at him and he would bray at her. As we walked her out of her stall to go out and ride her, the donkey got so upset and was braying for her to come back. Aww poor baby.


  1. Aaahhh, so good to hear its nothing super crazy! What a relief.

    Hugs your way regarding Cassie. =(

  2. Crazy week indeed. Sorry to hear about Cassie :( Glad that you have a diagnosis for Lucy though! That must be such a relief that all she needs is some time to heal.

  3. Yah for a diagnosis and one that really doesn't sound too bad! I'm sorry for the loss of Cassie.

  4. Great dogs live on forever in our hearts.

    So happy you got a diagnosis for Lucy - hoping she heals up quickly :)

  5. So many emotions in this email.
    First off, I am so sorry for your loss of Cassie. I'm sure that pretty girl lived a very happy, loved life and that is all we can do. We want them to live forever and die in dignity.
    Regarding Lucy, what a RELIEF. Like huge. So happy to hear of it and I'm sure she will continue to be her most athletic self when she returns. Think of all the great athletes, they all suffer some injury and come back to their sport. Same for her/you.
    The donkey braying for her..well, that is just too much sweetness.

  6. Phew! I'm so glad you have a diagnosis! What a dilemma you've been going through. Fingers crossed for good, well-behaved healing.

  7. Man, what a post! so many things...

    I am so sorry to hear about Cassie. It sounds like you guys had a good last year though and I'm sure she's grateful for that extra time.

    Re: Lucy mare, yay diagnosis! and even better that the prescription is time. Very relieved for you!

  8. I'm sorry to hear about Cassie but its good that you finally have a diagnosis for Lucy. Things are looking up

  9. Yay diagnosis! Time heals all wounds they say :)

  10. My condolences on Cassie, and I'm glad you finally got a diagnosis.

  11. So glad you finally got answers about Lucy. What a relief that it's looking like a vacation and not any major injections, etc.

    I'm very sorry about Cassie, it's so hard to let them go. I miss Harley and Promise everyday, but like you, feel relief that they are not suffering anymore.

  12. So sorry for your families loss. Glad that you got answers on Lucy though!

  13. Glad you finally got a diagnosis, and at least it doesn't sound too bad as far as bad news goes. I'm so sorry about your dog Cassie. It is hard when your beloved animals get old, sometimes there never is that easy 'right time' but she was loved and dogs are happy as long as they feel that.

  14. I feel like her faithful maid-servant sometimes. Oh Princess LuLu, must we do this again? :) <3

  15. Sorry to hear about your dog :(
    I'm glad you have a diagnosis for Lucy though!

  16. When my horse was at Tufts for a week this winter, her had a little mini pony stabled across from him named 'Midge' who became his best friend as well! Excellent news that you have a diagnosis; finding out what's wrong always feels like the hardest part. You'll be riding again in no time :)

  17. I'm so sorry about Cassie, she was clearly much loved and had a great life with your family. Like others have said I'm so pleased you finally have a diagnosis for Lucy. Not knowing what was going on with her must have been very difficult. I hope that given time she heals up fine and we can see more pictures of you guys having a great time soaring over things.

  18. Hope that Lucy heals and feels better soon!

    So sorry about your golden :(

  19. Glad you have a diagnosis! Hope lucy feels better soon.

  20. So sorry to hear about Cassie!!.
    Also its great to hear you have found whats wrong with Lucy!! Onwards and upwards from here.


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